Girl Guides is all about building leadership skills and amplifying girls’ voices. All of our programs are designed to put every girl in the driver’s seat allowing her to choose what she gets out of Guiding.
In April, we are exploring the fourth pillar of girl-driven Guiding: shared leadership. Shared leadership means girls get to make decisions, help plan unit meetings, advocate for their interests and even lead activities! Shared leadership is also about working as a team and sharing responsibilities with the other girls and Guiders in their units.
Helping girls find and use their voices early on is critical. As girls move into their teenage years, self-esteem, confidence and independence can waver just as they are discovering who they are and what they hope to contribute to the world. Societal expectations and the desire to fit in with peers can make girls hesitant to use their voices or take the lead. That’s where strong women role models (a.k.a. Guiders) come in!
So how do Guiders inspire girls to step into their leadership potential? Every week, Guiders listen to girls’ interests, provide opportunities for leadership and decision-making, and support a collaborative team environment where everyone’s voice is valued.
Rachel Collins, a Guider in southern Ontario, has found a great way to let girls lead:
“This year, with Girls First in mind, I have tried to take a page from the world of improv by exercising that tried and true “YES, AND…” style of collaboration in my Brownie unit. That has meant being willing to go with the flow, step back, and abandon a plan. When a girl says, “I know an extra verse to that song,” our answer becomes “YES, AND why don’t you teach it.” When a girl starts leading a game without any prompting from us, our answer is “YES, AND the rest of our meeting can wait.” Looking for these “YES, AND” moments has been a real and tangible way to give the girls more voice in determining the activities our unit participates in and has given individual girls a chance to step up and take the lead.”
Christa Morhart from Saskatchewan Council respects the different personalities in her unit and helps girls work together as a team:
“One activity they recently did was drawing a picture together. Each patrol had 5-10 mins to make a plan for their group drawing. They then proceeded (in silence) to pass the paper around the table letting each girl spend 45 seconds drawing a portion of the picture. They went a few rounds then at the end they had to present the drawing to the rest of the unit and identify their original plan, the end result, and how their planning could be improved. They also made other comments about the activity and how they could apply it to other aspects of their life.”
Every girl has a unique voice and leadership style. Guiding is a great place for girls to be heard, exercise their leadership muscles and build a better world!
contest – enter to win!
This year, we’re celebrating the critical role Guiders play in girls’ lives! From January to May, we’re inviting Guiders to share their stories of girl-driven Guiding.
In April, we’d love to hear your stories of the fourth girl-driven pillar: shared leadership. How do you help girls find their voice? How have girls thrived? What have you learned?
- Send your stories of shared leadership in Guiding to email@example.com by April 26 for a chance to win a Guider self-care package…and a limited-edition girl-driven badge!
- Please include your name, mailing address, iMIS#, Provincial Council and the branch level of your unit
- Images encouraged (please ensure we have permission to share!)
This story is so heartwarming and absolutely what Guiding needs to be today and going forward. Bravo!!! Pamela Rice